Instant Impact: Lasell Basketball Star Che Hanks Selected GNAC Rookie of the Year

Picking a college is a very important decision in one’s life.

Chelsea resident and Busche Academy graduate Che Hanks had several schools correspond with him, and Che chose Lasell University in Newton as the school in which he would continue his academic and athletic career. 

It’s been the perfect fit as Che Hanks, a standout player since his days in the Chelsea Youth Basketball League, has been named the Greater Northeast Athletic Conference’s Rookie of the Year for the 2023-24 season.

A 5-foot-8-inch guard, Hanks became a starter early in the season for the Lasers, and it’s a virtual certainty that he will be running the show in head coach Aaron Galletta’s surging program for the years to come. A quick and dynamic playmaker with long-shooting range, Hanks averaged 11.5 points and four assists per game and connected from three-point land at a 43.5 percent clip. He scored a season-high 28 points in a victory over Rivier College, including 4-of-4 from the free throw line where he shot 81 percent for the season.

More importantly, Hanks earned the respect and admiration of his teammates while helping to lead the team to a 16-10 record and the quarterfinals of the GNAC Tournament.

Coach Galletta Lauds His Freshman Guard

Lasell head coach Aaron Galletta placed Che Hanks at the helm of the Lasers’ offense just a couple of games into the season.

“Being the point guard on the team is obviously extremely important and for Che to take on that responsibility and have the success that he did this year is really a testament to his work ethic, his character, and his ability to connect with teammates,” said Galletta. “Che has a really good feel for the game and his work ethic, he’s in the gym every day. [Being selected GNAC Rookie of the Year] was a a well-deserved honor for him. He’s a great kid who works very hard.”

Hanks was also a huge contributor on defense, according to Galletta.

“He always wanted the assignment of defending the other team’s best player, so he covered the opponent’s best guard – Che was playing both ends of the court. “Che is a great kid who works very hard,” said Galletta. “It was good to see him get that award recognition this season.”

His Hoop Success Began in the CYBL

Che Hanks credits his training in the Chelsea Youth Basketball League and his father’s early coaching and mentoring for setting a strong foundation in his academic pursuits and basketball career.

“I played in the CYBL from the time I was five years old to when I was 14,” said Hanks, who attended the Saint Rose School and Excel Academy Charter Middle School.

Che is grateful to his father, Mswati Hanks, for being his prized coach and mentor during his youth basketball career. “That’s where I learned how to play the game – in the CYBL and at the Jordan Boys and Girls Club in Chelsea. I feel I got my outside shooting touch from my dad. He definitely taught me the shooting technique. They used to call him “Curry Before Curry.”

“My father’s taught me a lot of stuff, to be mentally strong,” continued Che. “He taught me that if I wanted to go get something, I have to put in the work. I think my hard work helped me become GNAC Rookie of the Year.”

Hanks played high school sports at Excel Academy Charter School in East Boston and Bishop Fenwick in Peabody before matriculating at Busche Academy, a prep school in New Hampshire. He was a starting guard in each of his interscholastic basketball  seasons.

Future Bright for the Lasers

Coach Galletta said that all five starters from this year’s team will be returning next season. The goal is a berth in the NCAA Tournament. And the man leading the steps to the Big Dance will be Chelsea’s Che Hanks. “That’s definitely the goal – to win the conference championship and make March Madness,” affirmed Hanks. “I feel we have a great group of guys and a great coach. I feel real positive and strong about what we can accomplish next year.”

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